PITTSBURG, KS – The ball is rolling to save an important piece of history in Pittsburg.
That’s good, considering not that long ago, the alternative involved a wrecking ball.
“Black history is American history. And it seems like our history just always gets looked over.” Says Donna Jackson Campbell Brice, Carver League Volunteer.
In the 1950’s the Carver League Building was an important fixture in the Southeast Kansas black community.
“It was a gathering place, it was a gathering place where black people could network.” Says Lemuel Sheppard, Carver League Volunteer.
“The only other place before that we could meet because of segregation was at churches, so that gave them a community center, I don’t care how tiny it is, it didn’t seem tiny.” Brice says.
Unfortunately, since then the building has fallen into disrepair, with cracks along the walls and tiles falling from the ceiling.
This isn’t where the story stops though.
Recently, volunteers have worked with the Kansas Historical Society to preserve it.
“It is the last building that served the needs of African descent people in Pittsburg. They say that it qualifies for that, so they’re going to send me some more paperwork for it to be on the national.” Brice says.
These efforts are being recognized throughout the community, and now there are angel donors who have stepped up.
“It is absolutely wonderful, as far as I’m concerned it’s an answer to a prayer.” Brice says.
While the end is still far away, the goal would be to reopen the building and tell the history of the local black community.
“Some of it goes back further than the building, there are things that can be told about the history of African Americans in Southeast Kansas.” Sheppard says.
“We would like to have it in history, the different people from Pittsburg Kansas, that played a role in Pittsburg Kansas.” Brice says.